A young Dutch geologist Alfred Issendorf is determined to win fame for making a great discovery. To this end he joins a small geological expedition to the far north of Norway where he hopes to be the first to identify craters in the landscape made by meteorites. It is a harsh and deserted environment, way beyond civilisation, which brings out all the fault lines in the group of young men and in Alfred's character. The tribulations mount: Alfred is unable to procure crucial aerial photographs, he falls on rocks, is soaked in a river, and is beset by mosquitoes and insomnia; the tent leaks appallingly. He is not a natural athlete, feeling incapable and superfluous to the group's needs. Alfred becomes desperate and paranoid, suspecting the others are leagued in conspiracy against him. Haunted by the ghost of his scientist father, unable to escape the looming influence of his mother, and anxious to complete the thesis that will make his name, Alfred's preoccupations multiply in this wilderness. As, piece by piece, his equipment is lost or ruined and his thinking becomes ever more disjointed, he moves towards the final act of vanity which will trigger a catastrophe. "Beyond Sleep" is a classic of post-war European literature; a gripping tale of a man at the limits of physical and mental endurance beyond the end of the civilised world.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"A comedy of worldly disengagement trembling on the edge of tragedy, all the more hilarious for being related in Hermans' best poker-faced mariner." - J M Coetzee


Used availability for W F Hermans's Beyond Sleep

Hardback Editions

May 2007 : USA Hardback
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Title: Beyond Sleep
Author(s): Willem Frederik Hermans
ISBN: 1-58567-583-0 / 978-1-58567-583-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


July 2006 : UK Hardback
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Title: Beyond Sleep
Author(s): W F Hermans
ISBN: 1-84343-205-6 / 978-1-84343-205-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

November 2020 : UK Paperback
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Title: Beyond Sleep
Author(s): Willem Frederik Hermans
ISBN: 1-78227-626-2 / 978-1-78227-626-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


May 2008 : USA Paperback
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Title: Beyond Sleep
Author(s): Willem Frederik Hermans
ISBN: 1-58567-988-7 / 978-1-58567-988-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

May 2008 : USA Kindle edition
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Title: Beyond Sleep
Author(s): Willem Frederik Hermans
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Availability: Amazon